|Toronto Blue Jays — No. 15|
January 7, 1983
La Romana, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|June 24, 2005 for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through through 2009)
|Runs batted in||286|
Encarnación was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the ninth round of the 2000 amateur draft and signed with them. On June 15, 2001, he was traded along with Rubén Mateo to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitcher Rob Bell. He made his big league debut on June 24, 2005 and saw action in 69 games. He finished with a .232 batting average and nine home runs.
In 2007 Encarnación started the year slowly, struggling to bat over .200. He was frequently benched in favor of multi-position speedster Ryan Freel, which gave Josh Hamilton, who was attempting to resurrect his career after it was derailed by drug problems, more starts in center field. Encarnación was benched again at one point by then manager Jerry Narron for not running out a fly ball.
The 2008 season saw Encarnación commit 23 errors in 143 games, although he hit a career-high 26 home runs.
For the 2009 season, Encarnación stated that he wanted to be more consistent as a hitter who didn't try to hit home runs in every at bat.
"I want to try to stay more to the middle. Last year, I tried to pull too many balls and hit more homers. That's why my average went down. I will be more consistent as a hitter. I know I can do it. I've done it before. I know I can hit better than that and I just have to keep working".
Through May 1, Encarnación had the lowest batting average in the major leagues for the 2009 season, .127. From the end of April until the beginning of July, Encarnación was sidelined due to a broken wrist. However, he saw some immediate success upon his return; his batting average rose from .125 to .228 over the span of 12 days.
Encarnacion suffered first- and second-degree burns to the forehead and the right side of his face when a rocket firecracker hit him in the jaw and exploded near his mouth. After initially being treated near his Dominican Republic home, Encaranacion was transferred to a Miami Hopsital. He was discharged less than two days after the incident.